Nine former contestants are claiming “American Idol” humiliates black contestants by publicly revealing they have an arrest record and then kicking them off the show to boost ratings.
New York attorney James Freeman has sent a letter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission asking for permission to sue the hit show on behalf of nine African-American contestants, the New York Daily News reported Friday.
Freeman claims the show has “NEVER once publicly disqualified a white or non-black American Idol contestant in the history of the eleven season production,” according to TMZ.com, which obtained a copy of the letter.
While former contestant Jermaine Jones hasn’t joined the proposed lawsuit, Freeman said the man’s fate prompted him to begin legal proceedings.
Jones was kicked off the show in March 2012 after producers learned he didn’t reveal he had been arrested twice in 2011 and had outstanding warrants, TMZ reported at the time.
Freeman alleges that if contestants tell “Idol” producers they have a criminal record, producers use private eyes to track the contestants and portray them as “violent criminals, liars and sexual deviants,” the Daily News reported.
Freeman’s clients are Corey Clark and Jaered Andrews, both from Season 2; Donnie Williams from Season 3; Thomas Daniels and Akron Watson, both from Season 6; Ju’Not Joyner from Season 8; Chris Golightly from Season 9; and twin brothers Terrell and Derrell Brittenum form Season 5.
Fox Broadcasting declined to comment on the legal action Friday, but a “Idol” Executive Producer Nigel Lythgoe called the allegations “ridiculous.”
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